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The Plow That Broke The Plains (Part I)

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The Plow That Broke The Plains (Part I)

Published 1936

Classic drama which details the Great Plains during the Depression. With Cinematography by Leo Hurwitz, Ralph Steiner, Paul Ivano and Paul Strand. Selected for the 1999 National Film Registry of "artistically, culturally, and socially significant" films.

Run time 22:55
Producer Pare Lorentz
Sponsor Resettlement Administration
Audio/Visual sound, B/W


Reviewer: Mersh - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 6, 2010
Subject: Here's a better copy.... - full movie, in Mpeg2
Reviewer: LorenzoSalmonson - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 1, 2007
Subject: Virgil Thomson's superlative tone poem
Just saw Part 1 that was broadcast on Turner Classic Movies TV! World class music from this documentary is available on CD!

Everyone should see this!
Reviewer: Tapdancer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 1, 2006
Subject: Read The Book, See The Movie
I just finished reading Timothy Egan's new book about the dust bowl, "The Worst Hard Time". This film was mentioned in the book, and one of the farmers featured was the father of one of the people Egan interviewed for his book. The film was very controversial when it came out and, evidently, still is (PBS calls it a "propaganda film"). View the film and read the book (in either order). It will make you a believer in man-caused environmental disasters. Global warming, here we come!
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 9, 2005
Subject: Yes, and?
I saw the first inclination of this short last year, and refrained to put a review up, as it was ONLY part I, and it didn't really resolve anything. Well, guess what? I finally saw the whole thing, (Part II was only 2 mins?) and it STILL doesnt resolve anything. The story of the modern wheatfield is told here, from the wild west frontier where cows grazed freely, to the great migration out west, to war production, then to the dust bowl problem. Problem is, the film totally ends abruptly, with nothing to say what is being done, what the farmer has to do, or anything. This sort of has a Grapes Of Wrath ending to it, except without the optimism (whatever amount that that had lol)
Reviewer: NiceNFurry - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 2, 2005
Subject: Too bad the video is truncated
The video transfer is slightly truncated - the last few moments of the film (and score) are missing.

The film and music are five-star.
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 31, 2004
Subject: A Winner
A beautifully made film about the Great Plains, which doesnÂt gloss over the over-farming (and greed) that turned this ecologically fragile landscape into the Dustbowl in the 1930Âs. This film was made by the U.S. Resettlement Administration, which helped the farmers wiped out by the drought. Even though itÂs in black and white, the film captures the beauty and desolation of the prairie landscapeÂand the tragedy of the settlers overwhelmed by both the forces of nature and the marketplace. Virgil ThomsonÂs superb score complements the film perfectly.
Reviewer: cashel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 23, 2004
Subject: magnificient
I had been waiting to see this classic film for so many years and had given up any hope of viewing it.Preliminary background reading might be useful for understanding the troubles of rural USA in the Depression years.It is now an essentual historical document
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